Sunday, May 31, 2009


A very big day is coming up for General Motors tomorrow. I have been reading off and on about GM falling in to bankruptcy over the past six months but it appears now that it is actually about to happen.

In today's Columbus Dispatch the paper has a front page article called "Shrinking Auto Giant Pains Ohio". As if anyone has to ask which auto giant. GM has a total of six factories in Ohio, according to the paper. The largest of which is the Lordstown Complex located in the the north eastern part of the state. The paper claims it has almost 4,500 employees. The smallest would be the ACDelco Distribution Center right here in my back yard. It employs less then 100.

Wired Magazine also has a good article this month called Beyond Detroit that spells out what the future might be for US automakers. In this article I discovered Ford's unbelievably large and complex River Rouge factory. You have to read about it to believe it.

I'm not 100% sure why I'm writing about this topic right now other then the fascination I have for large industrial automotive factories. I think a lot of the country shares a general fascination with US automotive companies. It is remarkable to read about how large they once where. Just looking at GM you find out that they owned 54 percent market share in 1954. From that year to 1979 it looks like the company experienced unprecedented success and stability.

You don't have to know your history all that well to know what has happened since then. The very next year the company started experiencing losses. They agreed to bad union contracts with UAW and where slow to react to new federal regulations.

The Dispatch put together 'A brief history of GM' that was very telling. While the auto giant has always has a few labor issues in its 100 year history it is unprecedented what has gone on over the past 20 years. Strikes, violence, layoffs, employee buyouts, early retirements. There is a employment stat the struck me like a brick the head... GM employed more people in the state of Ohio 15 years ago then it now does across the entire company.

Today is Sunday. If you get a moment say a little prayer for the once mighty family of GM employees. From the 50 plus year old's living on a company pension, to the thousands of nervous current employees waiting to hear their fate in the coming week.

The Giant is nearly dead... Long live the Giant.

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